Friday, May 11, 2012

House Bill (HR 4970) is NOT a real VAWA

Last Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization, HR 4970.  This bill fails to live up to the bipartisan Senate-passed bill (S 1925), which provides improved protections for particularly vulnerable populations.  In fact, this House bill turns back the clock on the Violence Against Women Act and is NOT a real VAWA reauthorization. 

The PC(USA), together with our interfaith partners, has been working to support the Senate-passed VAWA reauthorization (S 1925) and to defeat this harmful House bill that hurts and excludes certain survivors of violence from protections and access to the help and services they need.  In some cases, the Adams bill gives more rights to perpetrators than to victims.

The Violence Against Women Act, enacted in 1994, recognizes the insidious and pervasive nature of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, an stalking, and it supports comprehensive, effective, and costs saving responses to these crimes.  VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice and Health & Human Services, give law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges the tools they need to hold offenders accountable and keep communities safe, while supporting victims. 

The Senate-passed bill includes provisions that provide new protections for Native American women, immigrants, and LGBT victims.  The Adams bill (HR 4970) approved by the House Judiciary committee not only fails to include these new provisions, but actually rolls back important protections, including confidentiality, for immigrant victims.  In essence, this bill is picking and choosing which victims of domestic and intimate partner violence should get help.

Write to your Representative today! Tell him/her to vote NO on HR 4970- it’s not the VAWA reauthorization we want. [link]

We applaud members of the Judiciary committee who attempted to improve the Adams bill by offering amendments (all of which failed) to include vulnerable communities, such as Native women, LGBT victims, and immigrants. Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) even offered a substitute amendment that closely mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill, but that amendment was not allowed to be considered or debated. In the end, the improving amendments were not adopted, and Committee members who stand with ALL victims of violence voted NO.  Find out if your Member is on the Committee and how he/she voted below.*

Despite these disappointing results, we are not giving up. The VAWA Reauthorization is essential!  Instead of the Adams bill, the PC(USA) supports HR 4271, introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) -- a bill that mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill.  The first step is to urge the full House to vote NO on the Adams bill, HR 4970, and to support instead HR 4271, an inclusive VAWA that is a real step forward for all victims of violence.

For more information, check out
*Members who voted in favor of HR 4970 in committee: Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Rep.  Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep.  Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep.  Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep.  Steve King (R-IA), Rep.  Trent Frank (R-AZ), Rep.  Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep.  Tim Griffin (R-AR), Rep.  Thomas Marino (R-PA), Rep.  Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep.  Mike Ross (R-AR), Rep.  Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rep.  Mark Amodei (R-NV)

*Members who voted against HR 4970 in committee: Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. JerryNadler (D-NY), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)